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7:50pm 09/06/2023
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Sit down and talk, please, for the sake of the community
By:Sin Chew Daily

It is our hope that the land dispute revolving around the proposed Chinese education complex can be settled peacefully through candid communication and coordination.

The “Chinese education integrated complex” jointly developed by the United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong), the United Chinese School Teachers’ Association of Malaysia (Jiao Zong) and Merdeka University Berhad, has been stuck in a land dispute.

Apparently, this has been an aftermath of the 2013 Dong Zong incident, with core institutions in the local Chinese education sector being entailed.

Any problem that arises can be resolved amicably so long as all the parties involved are willing to have it settled peacefully. More importantly, all quarters must always bear in mind why they have come to work together in the first place.

Preparations for the Chinese education complex has been proceeding pretty well, and thanks to the call from Dong Zong, the project has been well supported in the local Chinese community, because we all hope the project will eventually come to fruition for the advancement of Chinese education development in this country.

Unfortunately, with the drawings now approved by the authorities and works are about to start anytime soon, the dispute has come out of the blue, much to the disappointment of many who are passionate about the development of Chinese education in Malaysia.

The three institutions, along with Dong Jiao Zong Higher Learning Center Bhd and New Era University College have always been operating in a close-knit symbiotic relationship with one another for  so many years.

The plot of land upon which Dong Zong and New Era currently sit used to be the site of Kajang Hwa Chiau High School. There are legal documents supporting their land ownership and right of use.

Merdeka University is the land owner while Dong Zong is the proprietor of the buildings as well as the user and manager of the land parcel.

As for New Era University College, its status has always been the user of the land owned and managed by the three institutions.

The relationships among these entities have been very distinct, straightforward and unambiguous, as the three institutions have reiterated.

What perplexes us is that New Era has suddenly appointed its lawyers to issue a legal letter accusing Dong Zong of unlawfully encroaching on its property.

Dong Jiao Zong Higher Learning Center Bhd secretary Chow Siew Hon said they were forced to do this to safeguard the interest of New Era University College.

From the company’s perspective, indeed it is understandable that it hopes to share the space with the three institutions in order to address the burning issue of inadequate campus room, which is not wrong given the fact this land parcel has since the beginning been meant for the shared use of all these entities.

The land that can be used for Chinese education has always been scarce, and it is hoped that the various interested parties in the country’s Chinese education sector would coordinate among themselves in order to maximize the educational benefits for the survival of Chinese education in Malaysia within the limited physical space available.

Miscommunication could happen during such a process of consultation and deliberation, and it is inevitable that various parties involved could have divergent views on the same thing.

From what we hear from the various parties, we can see that they have been discussing among themselves in very peaceful and harmonious atmosphere, and have maintained utterly harmonious working relationship.

If this is the case, why take the issue to the court just because of some trivial misunderstanding? And since we are all one big family working together for the well-being of the local Chinese community, why can’t we go back to the negotiation table and hammer things out nicely?

We don’t want to see the case taken to the court, as it will be time-consuming, involving massive sums of unnecessary litigation expenses, and infinitely derailing a key development project that has been all planned out, eventually hurting the entire Chinese community.

Additionally, it is embarrassing to learn that they have been pointing fingers at one another besides taking the case to the court. It is indeed sad that things have gone this far!

If we were to look back at the Dong Zong incident back in those years, it is not hard to deduce that all the disputes have derived from poor communication.

As a matter of fact, it is utterly important to do away with human factor for the Chinese education development to thrive. Things have to go by the book if we really want to grow the Chinese education, not to let it be dictated by a handful of powerful people.

Indeed there are ambiguous parts in the rules and regulations of local Chinese associations, and it is now time to have them straightened and revised. But the thing is, the revision will invariably involve interpersonal communication as well as the needs of the overall environment and situation.

Most importantly, even though there could be perceptional differences in any issue, no one should exploit the gray areas in the rules and regulations to advance his or her personal gains.

All interested parties must work together in unity in order not to undermine what we have achieved so for in the development of Chinese education in Malaysia.

It is hoped that the so-called land dispute is only a storm in a teacup and will not compromise the cordial working relationship among the parties involved.

A check with historical records reveals the sad reality that disputes and infighting abound among large and small Chinese associations around the country over the last few decades.

We have seen disputes of varying intensities among the boards of directors, PTAs, school committees’ associations in various states, for Chinese primary schools, independent high schools and private tertiary institutions all across Malaysia, just because of interpersonal differences, some having been brought to the court!

We are relieved that many of these disputes have eventually been settled peacefully thanks to the intervention of the leaders.

It is our hope that the land dispute revolving around the proposed Chinese education complex can be settled peacefully through candid communication and coordination, for the well-being of the Malaysian Chinese community.

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New Era University College
Dong Zong
Chinese education
Jiao Zong

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